Sixty percent of all meetings that take place in offices are recurring. Yet, scheduling and regulating those meetings efficiently is a problem in many offices.
In this post, we’ll show you how to use your Office 365 calendar for recurring meeting scheduling. We’ll also explain the pros and cons of each approach and walk you through a quick tutorial to help you get started.
Benefits of scheduling recurring meetings
Recurring meetings are especially useful for project-based teams in any organization. They allow team leads and project managers to establish consistent communication to help resolve road bumps that arise during the course of the project.
Here are the main reasons why organizations schedule recurring meetings:
• Create momentum. Recurring meetings allow teams and groups working together to keep projects moving forward at a steady pace.
• Increase engagement and productivity. Managers and team leads play a huge role in increasing team engagement and productivity levels. Holding regular check-ins allows them to make sure everyone is involved.
• Help team members prioritize tasks and stay focused. Recurring meetings intrinsically create accountability and transparency which, in turn, leads to team members staying focused throughout the project.
• Surface project roadblocks early on. When the entire project team meets on a regular basis – whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly – any issues or project roadblocks are more likely to surface early on.
Depending on your project and what your team is trying to accomplish, you might schedule short, fast-paced meetings or longer, more intensive ones. Some of the most common types of recurring meetings include daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings.
Looking for a tool to make scheduling recurring meetings seamless and conflict-free? Start a free trial today to see how Robin powers scheduling as part of a better workplace experience.
Different ways to schedule recurring meetings in Outlook
Scheduling recurring meetings in Office 365 ultimately boils down to two main options:
1. Using Outlook apps (Office 365 calendar AND Outlook Calendar app)
2. Using conference room scheduling software like Robin with Office 365
Using Outlook (and related apps)
Method 1: Office 365 calendar
Start by clicking the New button in your Calendar. From there all you have to do is fill out the meeting details and make it recurring either by:
• Selecting a predefined option from the drop-down menu where it says Repeat, or
• Manually configuring the settings using the Other… option.
• Scheduling recurring meetings in Office 365 is straightforward.
• You can schedule one-click daily, weekly, on workdays, monthly and annually recurring meetings.
• Office 365’s Calendar app lets you schedule meetings even if there’s a conflict with another meeting or event.
• Managing rooms/spaces isn’t intuitive.
Consider this scenario: You scheduled a recurring meeting in Conference Room A from 2 pm to 3 pm and a different project manager from your company scheduled a client meeting in the same room at, say, 2:30 pm. Office 365 would schedule both meetings without any notification of a conflict.
Method 2: Outlook Calendar app
To schedule recurring meetings in the Outlook Calendar app, you would start off by creating an event. Next, tap the Repeat option and set its Frequency to:
• Scheduling recurring meetings in the app is similar to the scheduling process in Office 365 Calendar.
• Delivers a seamless user experience on both Android and iOS devices.
• You can’t schedule custom recurring meetings e.g. on workdays or bi-weekly.
• The Outlook Calendar mobile app will let you schedule a meeting (without any conflict notification) even if there’s already a meeting scheduled in the same room at the same time.
• There’s no available option to set where the meeting will take place.
Conference room scheduling software
Arranging and scheduling recurring meetings using simple calendar tools and apps poses several challenges:
• Making sure meetings are conflict-free involves a lot of manual work and wastes time.
• Can potentially lead to inefficient use of conference meeting rooms and office resources.
• No insight into how conference rooms are being used.
Conference room scheduling software – like Robin – allows users to schedule conflict-free recurring meetings efficiently. It does this by streamlining two core scheduling activities: meeting booking and conference room scheduling.
• Displays conflict notices whenever there’s a conflict with a pre-scheduled meeting.
• Lets you know when the conflict occurs and in which room/space.
• You don’t have to worry about things like double-bookings and under (or over) utilizing conference room resources.
• You can essentially use Robin as a full-featured Outlook meeting scheduler.
• You’ll be adding conference room scheduling software to your tech stack.
Consider this scenario: You go to schedule a meeting at the same time and in the same room as a pre-scheduled one. Robin displays a conflict notice and doesn’t let you book the meeting. Instead, you’ll get recommendations for available rooms and spaces to book your meeting, conflict-free.
Scheduling recurring meetings in Office 365 using conference room scheduling software
In this section, we’ll show you how to create and modify recurring meetings in Office 365 using conference room scheduling software, Robin.
Create a new recurring meeting
Once you’ve logged into your Robin account, click the Create event button from the dashboard.
Enter the following details in the pop-up window:
• Meeting name: The name of your recurring meeting that will show up in all calendars.
• Start: Start date of the recurring meeting.
• End: End date of the recurring meeting.
• Space: The conference room the meeting will take place.
• Description: Brief description of what you’ll cover in the meeting.
• Guests: Use this option to invite team members to meetings by entering their email address.
• In this event: A list of everyone who’s been invited to the meeting. Tick the checkbox next to the Include me option to send yourself an invite.
Next, click the Repeat checkbox under the Start and End date section.
From the next screen, you’ll be able to configure the settings for your recurring meeting. Specifically, you can configure:
• How often the recurring meetings take place.
• When the recurring meetings end.
Finally, click Book Now button to book the recurring meeting.
Make an existing meeting recurring
To make existing meetings recurring, simply launch the Office 365 Calendar, find the event, and select the Edit option.
Next, use the Repeat option to configure how frequently the meeting should take place. You can do this by using the drop-down menu to select a predefined frequency or setting a custom one yourself. You can also select when the recurring meetings start and end.
Once you update the event in Office 365, all instances of your recurring meeting will appear in Robin’s dashboard. You can view it by going into the Schedule tab in Robin.
Make changes to recurring meetings
Click the Schedule tab from the Robin dashboard and find the recurring meeting you’d like to make changes to. You can use the calendar and filters to quickly find the meeting you’re looking for.
Click the ellipses in the right-corner and select the Edit option from the drop-down menu. This will launch the meeting editor from where you choose to:
• Edit this event. Only the instance of the recurring meeting you selected.
• Edit following events. The instance of the recurring meeting you selected AND all subsequent instances.
Make the changes you’d like to the recurring meeting instance(s) and click the Save Changes button when you’re done.
View conflicts with other (recurring or non-recurring) meetings
As mentioned in the previous section, conference room scheduling software – like Robin – automatically detects conflicts with existing meetings every time you create (or modify) a recurring meeting. It does this for all types of meetings – whether they’re recurring or not.
Consider this scenario: You book a recurring meeting in Conference Room A to repeat every Thursday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. If there’s already a pre-scheduled meeting on the fifth recurring instance (in the same room at the same time), Robin will automatically detect a conflict and let you know.
With Robin, you can click the Find a space button to automatically look for available spaces.
The tool will list out available spaces in your office at the date and time you want the meeting to recur.
All you have to do next is pick one of the spaces Robin recommends and add it to your meeting (using the Add to meeting button) to automatically update.
Using Office 365’s Calendar app or the Outlook Calendar mobile app isn’t the most efficient way to schedule recurring meetings – especially as your organization grows. You might not even realize conflicts with your meeting booking or resources until the very last moment.
With a reliable conference room scheduling tool – like Robin – you can make sure everyone is able to schedule conflict-free meetings, easily and efficiently.
To recap, conference room scheduling tools make it easy and efficient for users to:
1. Schedule recurring meetings
2. Check conference room availability
3. Automatically detect available conference rooms based on the duration of the meeting
4. Detect conflicts with pre-scheduled meetings to avoid double-bookings
Related resources: How to schedule recurring meetings with Google Calendar